The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a measure designating Philippine national performing arts companies in ballet, orchestra, choral and theater.
Rep. Kimi S. Cojuangco (5th District, Pangasinan), chairperson of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, said House Bill 5978 seeks to recognize the performing arts groups’ achievements by bestowing on them the highest honor and support for their best efforts in the field of arts.
“It is the policy of the State to recognize, designate and support non-government organizations that have demonstrated pioneering, consistent and unassailable competence, effectiveness and success in the development, training, documentation and performance of ballet and contemporary dance, orchestral music, choral music, and theater,” Cojuangco said.
Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento (1st District, Western Samar), author of House Bill 1876 that was substituted by House Bill 5978, said laws have been passed recognizing certain performing groups as the country’s official groups. One of these, he said, is Republic Act 8626, which declared the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company as The Philippines National Folk Dance Company.
However, Sarmiento said, these laws virtually exclude those who might want to be on the same position. “Worse, separate laws might be needed to recognize other groups who have shown effort and brought pride to the country,” Sarmiento said.
To prevent Congress from passing pieces of legislation every now and then to recognize performing groups, Sarmiento said the bill proposes the creation of a panel of experts that would evaluate groups for designation as performing arts companies.
“A 15-member panel of experts in the performing arts called the Selection Committee for the National Performance Arts Companies, guided by specific criteria for selection, shall be mandated to review and re-assess the groups regularly to ensure that they are continuously exerting their best in their field,” Sarmiento said.
Under the measure, the newly created Selection Committee shall come up a final selection of the qualified National Performing Arts Companies consisting of one qualified applicant each for ballet and contemporary dance, for theater, for orchestral music, and for choral music.
An additional twelve or three from each of the next most qualified applicants shall be selected from each of the aforementioned performing arts companies for a separate subsidy program.
The final selection results shall be ratified jointly by the NCAA Board of Commissioners and the CCP Board of Trustees.
Among others, a National Performing Arts Company shall undertake a continuing program of training and education for the professional development of performing artists, teachers, directors, designers, performing arts managers, and other artists particular to its performing arts field; organize and present a regular annual season of performances at the CCP and to other venues in the country, develop and build a repertoire of original Filipino works that will help define the national cultural identity, and maintain and promote a standard of artistic excellence in its field that will help elevate the performing arts in the country.
The measure entitles the National Performing Arts Companies to receive benefits and privileges such as, equitable use of government facilities for free, like CCP; access to grants, and intellectual property rights to their works, including music, choreographs, and other artistic creations.
The measure directs the CCP and the NCCA to execute a Memorandum of Agreement with concerned stakeholders to formalize necessary arrangements in accordance with existing laws.
Funds to be included in the budget of the CCP in the annual General Appropriations for a period of five years, shall be appropriated P10,000,000 for the National Ballet/Contemporary Company, National Theater Company and the National Orchestra; and P5,000,000 for the National Choral Company.
A maximum of twelve, or of three from each of the next most qualified applicants from each of the performing arts groups shall be entitled to a subsidy of P1,000,000 a year, renewable upon evaluation, for performance, research, documentation, and commissioned work.
Said amounts to be appropriated for the National Performing Arts Companies may be subject to adjustments once every five years after the effectivity of the proposed Act.
In consultation with the Chairperson of the NCCA, the President of the CCP is directed to formulate the implementing rules and regulations for the proposed Act.
Other authors of the bill are Reps. Romero Quimbo (2nd District, Marikina City), Isidro Ungab (3rd District, Davao City), Gerald Anthony Gullas, Jr. (1st District, Cebu), Jose Atienza, Jr. (Party List, BUHAY), Jonathan Dela Cruz (Party List, ABAKADA) and Joaquin Chipeco, Jr. (2nd District, Laguna).